Compliance & Ethics
Kezia Farnham Image
Kezia Farnham
Senior Manager

How to make online compliance training interactive: A holistic approach to employee engagement

June 10, 2022
0 min read
Employees engaging in compliance training

It takes between 9 and 12 “impressions” before a consumer is ready to make a decision. Though this statistic is specific to marketing and advertising, it shows just how challenging it can be to stimulate behavior change. Yet that’s exactly what compliance officers must do through compliance training.

You must encourage employees to interact yet still find ways to communicate complex topics that can have serious ramifications. Failing to achieve both objectives can lead to increased unethical behavior simply because employees won’t have a clear path forward regarding compliance.

Transform your compliance training with the following eight recommendations for making online training interactive.

1. Don't Overload Participants with Information

What’s relevant to you might not apply to your audience. Though you and your compliance team will have pored over the data surrounding incident management within your organization or your industry, your employees might not be as excited about this data as you are. Consider that they aren’t as familiar with compliance, so much of this information could be nonessential.

Suppose your employees don’t see the information you’re sharing as relevant. In that case, they might dismiss it, which could be detrimental to your incident management program as a strong compliance culture requires every covered employee’s participation. Though there are many ways compliance officers can inadvertently overload their audience with information, one common mistake is providing too much detail on the enforcement landscape.

Your employees need to know less about the law than you might assume. What’s more, laws can change by the country or even the region, so large organizations might miss the mark if they’re diving deep into statutes that only apply to a subset of their employees.

2. Narrow it Down to the Essential Details

As a compliance officer, your goal is to drive participation in your organization’s compliance programs. Meaning, that at its most basic level, your compliance training needs to provide your employees with the tools they need to do just that: participate. Distill everything you know about compliance into the bare essentials: key principles about compliance and advice on how employees should respond to the most common incidents.

With every training element you develop, ask yourself if it will help employees better respond to a dilemma. This question should be your litmus test for every course, article or video you ask your employees to engage with. Ensuring that every training module has value will make your training more interactive and equip employees with the knowledge they need to maintain compliance.

3. Implement Diverse Forms of Content

If you’ve onboarded at a new job or completed a continuing education program, chances are you’ve come across 30-40 minute training modules, each dedicated to a single topic. This is a widely used format in any employee training, one that’s also been readily adopted in the compliance world. But it’s not as effective as you might think.

In the race to fill those 40 minutes, you might pack the training module with technical details the average employee doesn’t need to know. That’s not to say you should scrap these training types altogether. Consider this format for your core topics, but implement other types of content for specific risk areas that may not need such in-depth coverage.

4. Mix in Short-Form Options, Like Videos

Compliance may not be the most exciting subject, but you can still create interactive online training. Rather than inundating employees with long-form videos, consider incorporating formats like videos, cartoons, infographics, and other visual-first content types.

When mixed in with your standard long-form training, these shorter, more imaginative content pieces can stimulate interest in the program and reduce the risk of training fatigue. Remember that your employees expect videos to be quick and to the point. If they see that the video is just four minutes, they’re more likely to watch it without rushing to judge its contents. That means their full time and attention will be on the details they need to know about your compliance program.

5. Be Clear and Concise About Your Message

You probably have a distinct idea of the knowledge you want employees to have after their training. Yet many compliance training materials have takeaways that are either nonexistent or difficult to apply to real life. Even after completing countless e-learning sessions, employees might still not know what to do if they’re offered a bribe or are in a position to contract with a vendor they have a personal relationship with.

Most bribery training will educate employees about laws that govern bribery, tell them not to bribe, then send them on their way once they’ve passed the quiz that marks course completion. “Don’t accept bribes” is great advice, but it doesn’t equip employees to respond appropriately should they be offered one.

6. Provide Clear Guidance on Expected Responses to COIs

For every likely risk scenario, ask yourself how you’d like employees to respond should they face that risk individually. The answer to that question should be the takeaway for the training related to that risk. Ensure that your employees know what to do when they encounter that scenario.

Equally important is providing your employees with resources on what not to do. If a bribe is offered, an employee could easily misstep because they’re unclear on what’s appropriate and not appropriate in that situation. Ensure you cover both in detail during your compliance training, so no questions go unanswered.

7. Periodically Refresh Your Training Strategy

Your employees probably have an opinion on company training that has nothing to do with compliance. But compliance officers still have to reckon with the fact that many of their participants will begin the program questioning the relevance of the course. Sticking with the same training formats they’ve seen repeatedly can reinforce their preconceived notions.

If you notice that your employees are losing interest in your existing education strategies, try implementing new ones. Just because you’ve always done training in one way doesn’t mean it’s the best way. Don’t be afraid to find new methods to connect with your audience. A more refreshed, interactive approach might be exactly what your employees need to get up to speed on compliance.

8. Create Emotional Connections

Shaping your employees’ future behaviors and attitudes starts with empathy. Authentic emotions are the foundation of successful employee education because your employees will feel personally connected to the cause. Though you may not have considered it before, it is within your power to create training materials that guide employees through challenging situations and let them reap the rewards of good compliance.

For example, in educational videos with a relatable narrator, the narrator can directly ask the audience questions like, “Have you ever been in a difficult situation where…?” Empathetic language like this can align the audience with the narrator and, by association, the compliance officer.

Consider this interactive online training approach for all of your materials. The result is a more receptive and engaged audience, which is key to developing an organization-wide culture of compliance.

In Conclusion

Compliance communication doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, it shouldn’t be. When compliance professionals put real thought into the content and tone of their training materials, they can create resources that connect their employees to the importance of compliance. Though training alone isn’t a complete solution to conflicts of interest, it is a critical step towards solidifying your competitive advantage because every employee will be on board with compliance.

Find out the next steps to cultivating a culture of compliance within your organization by downloading our roadmap for internal compliance programs.


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